Apple’s closely-followed Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) 2019 keynote presentation took place on Thursday. During their two hours on stage, Apple executives made clear that the company’s hardware is just as important as its software.
They showed off updates to Apple’s four main operating systems—tvOS, iOS, watchOS, and macOS. And although the event centered on software, it was the company’s new high-end Mac Pro desktop that arguably stole the show. Apple also unveiled a new desktop monitor that will cost at least $5,000, so pricey, in fact, that even many Apple fans did a double take.
Read on for our roundup of the biggest and most important announcements from WWDC 2019.
Apple designed iOS 13 to be more efficient and reduce app download sizes. Ultimately, the smaller app sizes should mean that apps will open twice as fast as in iOS 12.
Apple also added a new Dark mode to the operating system that converts white and gray menu items to black to reduce eye strain, and a swipe keyboard function that lets users type messages by sliding their fingers around the letters instead of tapping keys.
A new Sign In with Apple feature lets users create usernames and passwords for sites without ever needing to share personal information, like their e-mail addresses. It’s designed to hide the identity of users from third-party services and to route their passwords through Apple’s servers.
Additionally, Apple said that its HomeKit smart home control app will encrypt video from smart door bells or security cameras, so hackers access the images.
IOS 13 is planned for the fall.
Apple’s new iPadOS has features designed specifically for the iPad. It’s a departure from the past, when the iPhone and iPad shared an operating system that didn’t take advantage of the iPad’s larger screen.
With iPadOS, users will get a bigger home screen and the ability to add widgets to the home screen to quickly access more information. Apple’s iPadOS also has improved multitasking, including the ability to drag and drop text and images between apps. A new split screen feature will let users view two apps side-by-side.
Perhaps most importantly for photographers, Apple’s iPadOS works with USB drives and SD cards, so users can transfer files from those drives to the iPad.
Apple plans to release iPadOS in the fall.
If you don’t mind spending thousands of dollars for a new computer, the new Mac Pro may be for you.
Apple’s long-awaited high-end desktop comes with a metal design that lets users add and remove components more quickly, the company said. It comes with an Intel Xeon processor that has up to 28 cores, or processing units, and the option to have multiple high-end graphics cards running at the same time to accommodate resource-heavy applications, like video processing. It comes with up to 1.5TB of memory and more ports that let users connect monitors, storage devices, and other peripherals.
But be ready for the sticker shock. It starts at $6,000.
Apple executives showed off a new version of macOS called Catalina that came with news that had killed iTunes and replaced it with three apps—Apple Music, Podcasts, and Apple TV. The apps have all been slightly updated, but they will still provide access to music, podcasts, and video content like previously.
A new Sidecar feature for Catalina lets users turn the iPad into a secondary display. Users can drag app windows between a Mac and iPad, and even use Apple’s tablet as a drawing board when editing photos in Adobe’s photo-editing software Photoshop.
To improve accessibility in macOS, Apple said that users could use voice commands to control the operating system’s functions, including typing messages and accessing apps.
Finally, Apple said that it had combined the development process for iPads and Macs, so that developers could create an iPad app and bring it to the Mac without needing to tweak it the underlying software.
Apple plans to introduce macOS Catalina in the fall.
Apple Pro Display XDR
If you thought the Mac Pro is expensive, wait until you hear about Apple’s new Pro Display XDR. The monitor, which Apple plans to introduce this fall, costs an eye-popping $5,000.
For that, you’ll get a 32-inch screen with 6K resolution for high-quality visuals, Apple said. The screen, which covers the entire front panel, can be used in conjunction with a counterbalancing arm that lets users quickly adjust the screen’s height and tilt.
The basic Pro Display XDR comes with standard anti-glare coating, but users who want a special textured version to reduce glare will have to pay $6,000. The Pro stand, as Apple calls it, is an extra $999.
Apple’s new WatchOS 6 comes with an Apple Watch App Store that lets users download Apple Watch apps directly onto their smartwatches. Users will be able to review apps that are curated by Apple’s editors and see a list of most popular ones. They can also search for apps by using dictation and scribbling on the screen.
Look for other improvements to the Watch operating system, including menstrual-cycle tracking for women, the ability to run Apple Watch apps without an iPhone companion, and voice recording. Apple also announced some new watchbands that will be available in time for summer.
Apple plans to release watchOS 6 this fall.
Apple executives didn’t focus much on tvOS during WWDC, but Apple TV software is getting a minor design upgrade. Apple executives also said that Apple Arcade cloud-based gaming service, to be released later this year, will work with Xbox One and PlayStation 4 controllers. That will be a boon for gamers who already own the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One and don’t want to buy another controller for Apple Arcade.
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